Acquired chemotherapy resistance is a major contributor to treatment failure in oncology. For example, the efficacy of the common anticancer agent doxorubicin (DOX) is limited by the emergence of multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype in cancer cells. While dose escalation of DOX can circumvent such resistance to a degree, this is precluded by the appearance of cardiotoxicity, a particularly debilitating condition in children. In vitro studies have established the ability of the natural phytochemical curcumin to overcome MDR; however, its widespread clinical application is restricted by poor solubility and low bioavailability. Building upon our recently developed polymer nanoparticle of curcumin (NanoCurc or NC) that significantly enhances the systemic bioavailability of curcumin, we synthesized a doxorubicin-curcumin composite nanoparticle formulation called NanoDoxCurc (NDC) for overcoming DOX resistance. Compared to DOX alone, NDC inhibited the MDR phenotype and caused striking growth inhibition both in vitro and in vivo in several models of DOXresistant cancers (multiple myeloma, acute leukemia, prostate and ovarian cancers, respectively). Notably, NDC-treated mice also demonstrated complete absence of cardiac toxicity, as assessed by echocardiography, or any bone marrow suppression, even at cumulative dosages where free DOX and pegylated liposomal DOX (Doxil®) resulted in demonstrable attenuation of cardiac function and hematological toxicities. This improvement in safety profile was achieved through a reduction of DOX-induced intracellular oxidative stress, as indicated by total glutathione levels and glutathione peroxidase activity in cardiac tissue. A composite DOX-curcumin nanoparticle that overcomes both MDR-based DOX chemoresistance and DOX-induced cardiotoxicity holds promise for providing lasting and safe anticancer therapy.
- Multidrug resistance
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